Cecilie Schou Andreassen, Torbjørn Torsheim, Ståle Pallesen; “Predictors of Use of Social Network Sites at Work: A Specific Type of Cyberloafing”; In Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication; 2014-05-20; paywalled.
Faculty of Psychology at the University of Bergen (UiB)
Previous title: On the Near Impossibility of Measuring Advertising Effectiveness
tl;dr => doesn’t work
<quote>the required sample size for an experiment to generate sufficiently informative confidence intervals is typically in excess of ten million person-weeks.</quote>
<quote>The weak informational feedback means most firms cannot even approach profit maximization.</quote>
Classical theories of the firm assume access to reliable signals to measure the causal impact of choice variables on profit. For advertising expenditure we show, using twenty-five online field experiments (representing $2.8 million) with major U.S. retailers and brokerages, that this assumption typically does not hold. Statistical evidence from the randomized trials is very weak because individual-level sales are incredibly volatile relative to the per capita cost of a campaign—a “small” impact on a noisy dependent variable can generate positive returns. A concise statistical argument shows that the required sample size for an experiment to generate sufficiently informative confidence intervals is typically in excess of ten million person-weeks. This also implies that heterogeneity bias (or model misspecification) unaccounted for by observational methods only needs to explain a tiny fraction of the variation in sales to severely bias estimates. The weak informational feedback means most firms cannot even approach profit maximization.
Randall A. Lewis, David H. Reiley; Does Retail Advertising Work?; 2011-06-08, first version 2008-08-21; 25 pages.
Teaser: Measuring the Effects of Advertising on Sales via a Controlled Experiment on Yahoo!
We measure the causal effects of online advertising on sales, using a randomized experiment performed in cooperation between Yahoo! and a major retailer. After identifying over one million customers matched in the databases of the retailer and Yahoo!, we randomly assign them to treatment and control groups. We analyze individual-level data on ad exposure and weekly purchases at this retailer, both online and in stores. We find statistically and economically significant impacts of the advertising on sales. The treatment effect persists for weeks after the end of an advertising campaign, and the total effect on revenues is estimated to be more than seven times the retailer’s expenditure on advertising during the study. Additional results explore differences in the number of advertising impressions delivered to each individual, online and offline sales, and the effects of advertising on those who click the ads versus those who merely view them. Power calculations show that, due to the high variance of sales, our large number of observations brings us just to the frontier of being able to measure economically significant effects of advertising. We also demonstrate that without an experiment, using industry-standard methods based on endogenous cross-sectional variation in advertising exposure, we would have obtained a wildly inaccurate estimate of advertising effectiveness.
Previous title: Add More Ads? Experimentally Measuring Incremental Purchases Due to Increased Frequency of Online Display Advertising.
Yahoo! Research partnered with a nationwide retailer to study the effectiveness of display advertising on online and in-store sales for more than three million shared customers. We measure the impact of higher ad impression frequency using a simple experimental design on Yahoo!: users in the ‘Full’ treatment group see the retailer’s ads, users in the ‘Control’ group see unrelated control ads, and users in the ‘Half’ treatment group see an equal probability mixture of the retailer and control ads. We find statistically significant evidence that the retailer ads increase sales 3.6% in the Full group relative to the control group. Doubling the average number of impressions per person, from 17 to 34 in a two-week period, nearly doubled the treatment effect. Leveraging our experimental design, we find that the returns to ad frequency are approximately linear among those who were eligible to see up to 50 ads and the marginal return to an additional ad exposure is 4¢. We also find evidence that the ads had a stronger effect on customers who live closest to the retailer’s brick-and-mortar locations, customers who purchased recently, loyal customers, and wealthy customers.
Do mundane daily choices, such as what brands to buy in a supermarket, reflect aspects of our values and ideologies? This article presents a large scale field study to test whether traits associated with a conservative ideology, as measured by voting behavior and religiosity, manifest in routine, seemingly inconsequential product choices that consumers make. Across a variety of frequently purchased products, we show that both measures of conservatism are associated with a systematic preference for established national brands (as opposed to their generic substitutes), and a lower propensity to try newly launched products. These findings correspond with the psychological traits associated with a conservative ideology such as preference for tradition and status quo, ambiguity/uncertainty avoidance, and skepticism towards new experiences.
Summary: Mindfulness training — a combination of meditation and body awareness exercises — can help U.S. Marine Corps personnel prepare for and recover from stressful combat situations. The study suggests that incorporating meditative practices into pre-deployment training might be a way to help the U.S. military reduce rising rates of stress-related health conditions, including PTSD, depression and anxiety, within its ranks.